The Daily Nexus - UC-wide union rallies for the UC to “break up” with Blackstone on Valentine’s Day, invest in affordable housing

Union workers and students at seven UC campuses called for the UC to “break up” with Blackstone — the largest commercial landlord in the U.S. — and promote more affordable housing options in tandem with Valentine’s Day at a Feb. 14 rally.

The joint action was organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, which previously helped pass the Homeless Prevention Act in 2019 to protect tenant rights. The collective effort was also supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 3299, a UC-wide union representing over 30,000 service workers and patient care technical workers, among others. The union is currently undergoing contract negotiations with the University for better wages and benefits and wants to include a clause for divestment within their contract, according to AFSCME 3299 UC Santa Barbara organizer and union representative Wendy Santamaria.

“Right now they’re bargaining for better wages, better benefits, but one of the specific things that we’re negotiating is a housing package that is able to provide financial assistance for members,” Santamaria said. 

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